Over 7.1m still need humanitarian assistance in North-east – UN-OCHA

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Activities (UN-OCHA) has said over 7 million people are still in need of humanitarian assistance in the North-east, which deserves sustained attention and renewed commitment.

Speaking at a three day civil security cooperation in humanitarian intervention in the North-east workshop held at the multipurpose hall of the Government House, Maiduguri on Wednesday, UN resident humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, said “the the protracted crisis in the North-east states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe remains the largest humanitarian crisis, with over 7 million still in need of humanitarian crisis.”

He said “over the past 10 years, over 35,000 people have lost their lives in this crisis. About 14, 000 were civilians but many others are members of the Nigerian Armed Forces. The crisis has also had a heavy toll on aid workers and past years have marked a turning point in our response. Aid workers whether they are working for the United Nations or national NGOs or ministries, departments and agencies, have increasingly become targets of attack by the non- state armed group, criminals and petty thieves”.

“We are here today for this very important dialogue between the government of Nigeria and the humanitarian community in the North-east under the leadership of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development,” Kallon added.

The resident coordinator said “most of us are familiar with working in a slow onset emergencies, natural disasters and complex emergencies. However, working in a counter terrorism environment with a functioning government like Nigeria requires constructive engagement, transparency and information sharing, adopting strategies and global best practices to counter terrorism environment.”

President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by the Minister of Defence, Maj.- Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd) said “the proliferation of complex security issues in conflict zones, civil society and security agencies need to work together on an unprecedented scale as these challenges cannot be easily resolved by either side alone.

“These security issues are not just those related to war on terror, but also associated security issues like humanitarian emergencies, starvation, diseases, banditry and organised crime. More often than not, the aftermath of some of these non-traditional security issues will involve post-conflict reconstruction and economic rejuvenation.

“This requires increasingly diverse ancillary tasks for both military and civilian organisations, which necessitates collaboration. The complicated objectives of these activities require an integrated and coordinated response from a multitude of civilian and security actors. Thus, the imperative to actively debate and shape their aim and policies into a single, coherent strategy that encompasses both strategic and tactical objectives. This workshop would therefore serve as an important avenue to find solutions to some of the insecurity problems in the region,” the president stated.

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